Sonic Youth


How to make your band indie heroes, lesson one: Listen to the Velvet Underground, Can, the Shaggs -- anything that wasn't popular then and isn't popular now, because popularity = bad. Anything that contains a hint of pop or catchiness is contrary to everything that you stand for. Exception: one member can have an inexplicable fondness for a sugary 70s pop group (in Sonic Youth's case, it's the Carpenters), but other than that, you're impenetrable indie badasses.

Oh, no ratings et al for these reviews. But believe me, if I put ratings on here, they'd be low.

lineup: Kim Gordon (bass, worst...singer...ever); Thurston Moore (guitar, vocals); Lee Ranaldo (guitar, vocals, probably the most tolerable one of the bunch); and some other people. who cares? not me! (see, apathy = indie)

review index: EVOL / Daydream Nation / Dirty / Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star

missing albums: uh, a lot of stuff, but I sure as hell am not buying any more of this band's albums

...reader comments... isn't in the running for a pulitzer on this one:

You Are The Greatest Idiot I've ever heard of...

your page sucks.... your reviews suck.... YOU suck...

i HATE you.... I Hate your BAGFACE and your UGGLY Girlfriend.,... HATE!!!!

Cole Responds:


EVOL - 1986


Indie hero lesson two: Don't play songs normally. Avoid the traditional concepts of "melody" or "coherence". Drag your songs on as long as you feel like doing it. Put some neat guitar tones ("Star Power and "Tom Violence" have some neat guitars) in and slather some stupid pseudo-poetic lyrics on top ("In the Kingdom #19"). Don't worry about silly things like "accessability" -- believe me, irritating dissonance is your friend ("Green Light"? More like STOP, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP!!!). Now that you're building up a devoted indie hipster fanbase, you're well on your way to being proclaimed an Important, Revolutionary band! Better than the Doors, even!

Daydream Nation - 1988


So, have you gained your cult following yet? Good! Now it's time for you to make your "masterpiece" -- a double album! Don't worry about being called pretentious or excessive; after all, you're just following your muse and being true to yourself, and the traditional 45-minute record format just can't contain all your wonderful ideas. Start off with a nice song about J. Mascis ("Teen Age Riot") to confuse your listeners, then tear into your typical dull indie ranting. Worried about having enough songs for the double album? Don't fret, just stretch them out to seven minutes! Include a three-part epic at the end! Continue using the same guitar tones you've been using -- it doesn't really matter at this point, since your fans will lap up anything you do. They'll pride themselves on being eclectic if they can sit through all seventy minutes of this stuff!

Dirty - 1992


Okay, you've managed to record several indie-rock masterpieces, but you're not making any money. Here's what you do: Sell out!!! Actually, you don't really have to vary your approach much -- keep letting the girl sing, even though she can't ("Swimsuit Issue" is a prime example of this), bore the hell out of everyone on all of side two, and keep making all the skronky guitar feedback things. Only exception this time is to make one song that actually contains what we traditionalists call "melody" -- "100%" is probably the only really good song this band has, er, produced, in my humble opinion. So turn on your 4-track, place your guitar against your amplifier, and get your accountant on the phone!

Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star - 1994


Well, if you've gotten this far, you're pretty much set for the rest of your life. Your adoring fans will buy anything you release -- albums consisting solely of pointless feedback noise, tributes to avant-garde composers, etc. Heck, you can even use an acoustical guitar on one of these songs ("Winner's Blues" -- why is it Sonic Youth can make a cool opening song but the rest of the album sucks so badly?)! Congratulations on your completion of the So You Want to Be an Indie-Rock and Roll Star? course. Be sure to pick up a diploma on your way out.

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